Tag Archives: advice

Am I ready for feedback?

Liane Davey just posted a terrific article about giving feedback to professional colleagues. Don’t do it, she says, until you’re ready.

ProfessionalsFor example, if you’re giving feedback so as to punish or humiliate someone, even just a little, you’re not ready. You’re ready only when you can honestly say that your motive is to make the other person more successful.

Liane gives other tips for knowing when you’re ready to give feedback. (Read her article — it’s well worth your time.) Beyond those tips, I think there’s one more: you’re not ready to give feedback until your colleague is ready to receive it.

People are usually receptive when — calmly and in private — you offer to give them feedback or advice. But not always. Sometimes, either verbally or nonverbally, they’ll say Not now. This is often true when the colleague is a peer; it can be especially true when the colleague is your boss.

No matter how helpful your feedback would be, and no matter how pure your motivation, don’t bother giving feedback if the other person isn’t ready to receive it.

Pondering this, I confronted a couple of questions:

  • How ready am I to receive feedback?
  • Do I ever tell my colleagues, verbally or nonverbally, that I’m not ready?

I like to keep an even keel at work, not appearing stressed even when the work is hard and the deadlines are closing in. I like to be seen as a steady, dependable teammate.

But how does that look to others? When my head is down and I’m focused on my work in the face of that looming deadline, is there a big “do not disturb” sign on my forehead?

When I try to look cool and unflappable, do I actually look unapproachable? Do I send the silent message that I don’t need help from anyone?

Do I ask for help when I should? Do I take advantage of opportunities to ask for feedback? (I’m pretty sure I fall short on both counts.)

While I plan to take to heart Liane’s advice about giving feedback, I’m also going to focus on making sure that I’m ready to receive feedback — and making sure that I’m communicating my readiness to those around me.

In what ways do you let colleagues — managers, subordinates, and peers — know that you’re ready to receive feedback?

Be the Captain: A Trusty Compass

Book cover imageAs you read Jack Molisani’s Be the Captain of Your Career, you might find yourself thinking that you already know most of this. But then you’ll hit upon something new, something that gives you an “aha” realization and makes the book worth every penny you paid for it.

As you stand at the helm and navigate your way through your career, this book can be the compass you need to get your bearings and stay on course.

It’s easy to read: short, with chapters that often go just two or three pages. Have a highlighting pen handy: you’ll need it. I’ll keep my marked-up copy close by, to refresh my memory and to take stock of what I’m doing well and what I need to do better.

I love the tone of encouragement and exhortation. Jack speaks with authority born of his work as owner of a staffing company as well as his own personal experiences. An accomplished speaker and the organizer of the Lavacon conference, Jack is the real deal. His entrepreneurial know-how and his positive energy resound throughout the book.

Be the Captain contains great tips, from someone who’s sat at both sides of the interview table, on things like overcoming inertia, networking, selling yourself, and acing the interview. But this book isn’t just for job seekers. For example you’ll find solid, realistic advice on estimating work and then selling your estimate, and on negotiating to reach a win-win result.

The last section, Have It, covers some well-worn ground: decide what you love, and then do it. But the section is still worth reading, for in it Jack gives away his hard-earned wisdom on things like establishing a set of core values, personal branding, and negotiating.

Finally, Jack invites his readers to engage with him, providing an email address and two Twitter handles. I appreciate knowing that he’ll be there with me as I navigate the shoals.

Have you read Be the Captain of Your Career? If so, what was your take? If you had any “aha” moments I hope you’ll share them in the comments.